“Be courageous! The world needs your independence of mind, your confident regard of the future, your thirst for truth, goodness and beauty,” said Pope Francis to Poland’s young people.
The Holy Father addressed a Message to Bishop Piotr Libera of Plock, Poland, on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the death of Saint Stanislaus Kostka (1550-1568), a Jesuit novice. The anniversary coincides today with the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“May Saint Stanislaus teach you not to be afraid of risk or dreams of true happiness, whose source and guarantee is Jesus Christ,” wrote the Pope, quoting his address at Krakow for the 2016 World Youth Day. “Jesus is the Lord of risk, He is the Lord of the ever ‘further.’ [. . . ] He wants your hands to continue to build today’s world. He wants to build with you.”
The Pontiff gave young people the program of the young Polish Saint’s motto: “From Heaven, may Saint Stanislaus inspire you and his motto inspire you: ‘Ad maiora natus sum’ – ‘I was born for greater things.’”
Born into a great Polish family in 1550 at Rostkow, Stanislaus devoted himself to classical studies at Vienna beginning in 1564. Invited by the Virgin to enter the Society of Jesus, in order to prevent his father’s opposition, he fled from his home in 1567, walking all over Germany.
Arriving in Rome, he was admitted to the noviciate by Saint Francis Borgia. He died there on August 15, 1568, having reached a high degree of holiness. Benedict XIII canonized him in 1726.
Here is a Zenit translation of the Message the Holy See published in Polish and Italian on August 15.
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Pope Francis’ Message
To My Dear Brother
Monsignor Piotr Libera
Bishop of Plock
Today, on the occasion of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is the 450th anniversary of the death of Saint Stanislaus Kostka. At the age of only 18 years, due to a grave illness, this student of the Jesuit noviciate in Rome, and one of the most excellent sons of your country and of the Society of Jesus, ended his earthly pilgrimage. It’s the reason why, on commemorating his entrance into the glory of the Lord, I unite myself to the thanksgiving prayer of the faithful of the diocese of Plock and of the whole Church of Poland, which will soon witness the main celebrations of the year dedicated to him at Rostkowo, the Saint’s birthplace.
I take this occasion and would like first of all to address myself to the young people, of whom Saint Stanislaus is the Patron. I wish to recall the phrase that Saint John Paul II pronounced in the church of Sant’Andrea al Quirinale, when he venerated his relics. “The itinerary of his short life, which began at Rostkowo of Mazowsze, passing by Vienna up to Rome, can be compared to a great country race towards the objective of the life of every Christian, which is holiness” (November 13, 1988).
Dear young friends, I know that many among you will undertake, in September, the pilgrimage on foot from Przasnysz to Rostkowo, from the place of his Baptism to his birthplace. It is, so to speak, the first stage of Stanislaus’ race to sanctity. I encourage you to remember, not only during this march, but on all the paths of your daily life, that you are also capable of undertaking this “race.” You too are pushed by the love of Christ and strengthened by His grace. Be courageous! The world needs your independent mind, your confident regard of the future <and> your thirst for truth, goodness and beauty.
May Saint Stanislaus teach you to seek always first of all friendship with Jesus, to read and meditate His word and to welcome in His Eucharist, His merciful and powerful presence, to resist the conditioning of the worldly mentality.
May Saint Stanislaus teach you not to be afraid of risk or of dreams of true happiness, whose source and guarantee is Jesus Christ. ”Jesus is the Lord of risk, He is the Lord of the always ‘further.’ [. . . ] He wants your hands to continue to build today’s world. He wants to build with you” (Cf. Address at the WYD Vigil, Krakow, July 30, 2016).
From Heaven, may Saint Stanislaus inspire you, and his motto inspire you: “Ad maiora natus sum” – “I was born for greater things.”
Dear Brother, by the intercession of Saint Stanislaus, I invoke the divine protection on you, on all the Bishops and priests, on the faithful and especially on the young people of the Church of Poland. I ask you to pray for me and I give you my heartfelt blessing, in the Name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
From the Vatican, August 15, 2018